It’s a different look this season for the Wilson High School girls basketball team, which faces life after the graduation of Rachel Senek and Kayla Neumann, two of the program’s all-time greats.
But the Lakewomen return a lot of senior leadership and some talented young standouts. So it’s safe to say, Wilson is expected to be amongst the elite in the Niagara-Orleans League as always.
“Right now we’re just working on some combinations and trying to get better,” Wilson coach Brian Baker said. “I have two young guards so we’re going struggle at times, but I have great senior leadership and they’re working hard. We might take some lumps early but we’ll figure things out and by the end of the year. Hopefully, we’re rolling.”
So far, so good for Wilson. The Lakewomen have started the season at 2-0 after a 54-32 win over Buffalo Performing Arts at the Pastor-Cooper Memorial Tournament on Wednesday at Daemen College. After a sluggish first-half, Wilson came together in the second and put the game away in the fourth quarter.
Once they get the jitters out and learn they can play with anybody and just play with no fear, I think we’ll be fine,” Baker said.
While last year’s senior class may have been irreplaceable, this year’s seniors are also very strong. Co-captains Maddie Mocarski and Morgan Faery headline a strong group that also includes four-year varsity player Shea Munnikhuysen and another Wilson athletic mainstay in Emily Kelly, who led the team in scoring through two games with 10.5 points per game.
One of the seniors, guard Sarah Yousett will miss the season with a torn ACL. She may not be on the court, but Baker said Yousett is still a key part of the team.
“She right now is like a third coach to us,” Baker said. “My heart breaks for her. She loses three sports in her senior year: soccer, basketball, and track. But she’s a great teammate right now and she’s really the MVP right now through two games.”
Another Munnikhuysen, sophomore Skylar, is one of the new guns at guard for the Lakewomen. She has 7.5 points per game through two contests.
In all, there are 15 players on the Lakewomen roster – and everyone is expected to bring something the table. There’s no replacing last year’s senior class, namely Senek, who holds multiple program records and last season was the second Wilson girls player to join the 1,000-point club. But Wilson hopes its depth will keep the program’s strong tradition alive.
“Definitely 1-15 we have a solid roster; everyone contributes,” Faery said. “I don’t think it will be as strong as last year just because it’s so hard to replace a 1,000-point scorer. But I think we’ll have a really good season.”
The Lakewomen have won the N-O championship in each of the last eight seasons. Wilson had a 62-game winning streak against league foes snapped last season by Medina and the Lakewomen got revenge in the rematch.
Wilson hopes to see similar success this season and so far, so good. In the Pastor-Cooper Tournament against Buffalo Arts, Wilson led just 17-11 after an ugly first half – but after a productive halftime chat, the Lakewomen were much sharper in the second half.
“At halftime, we had a really good talk that pumped us up and helped us win this game,” Mocarski said. “So far we’re looking good. We really have to come together but we’re getting better.”